Confrontation with Neighbor over Kids Riding Bikes

Updated on September 10, 2011
K.B. asks from Parker, CO
24 answers

Hello wise Moms!
It is summer, and my kids are playing outside a lot more these days. We live in a suburban neighborhood across the street from a park, but a lot of our neighbors don't drive as slow as I think they should. Especially in the summer with the high school drivers out and college kids home. A dog was actually hit and killed on our street recently. So, I went out and bought one of those green "flag-holding" slow men to display. I put it near the end of my driveway, but actually a little bit in the street because our house is in-between two curves and I don't think drivers could see it if I didn't put it there. I only put in out when my kids are riding bikes or playing basketball and I always bring it in promptly when they're finished. It has never been a problem, until today. A new neighbor (actually a new wife who moved into an old neighbor's house) came down to confront me about my sign. She was very rude to me and claimed that I was going to cause an accident and next time she would call the police. She had driven by a few minutes earlier and I guess she didn't like the sign being out. Any advice on how to deal with this? I am not going to stop trying to protect my kids, but obviously some people (this woman has older teenagers) don't like my kids riding bikes.

Update: I supervise my children when they are out front (except for my older two, but I wouldn't put the sign out with them anyway because they are very mindful of cars). My younger two children just haven't learned how to stay as close to the side of the street as I want. Generally, when they are riding bikes or playing in the park, I will yell "car" and they will all move to the side. I think part of the problem is that with a park across the street, there can be a lot of kids around. Most of them aren't mine, but I'm sure she was annoyed in general with the number of kids she had to watch out for.

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answers from Chicago on

I had the same problem in my old neighborhood. Speed limit was 25, people thought 45 to 60 was appropriate. I put my signs in the middle of the darn road and called the police after I talked to the particular offenders a million times. One was a teen the other was a volunteer fire department guy! A chat with his supervisor solved that problem. I agree, the kids shouldn't be riding in the middle of the road, but people need to be mindful of children in subdivisions...think of the fallout for both the family with a ran over child, and the mental fallout of the person who is the one who hits them. Many lives ruined in a split second.

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answers from San Francisco on

They don't drive as slow as you think they should?
Not sure what that means. Are they actually speeding? If not, then I'm not sure what your complaint is.
I am pretty sure it's illegal to put an obstruction (your sign) in the road, that's probably what she was complaining about.
If your kids are going to be riding bikes on a public street then they (and you) need to be aware of the rules and risks and take appropriate precautions.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Putting something in the street, even a few inches is a driving hazard and if she calls the police it will be a she said she said. You could also get sighted for putting something in the street if it causes an accident even if you are trying to save lives.

Call the police, let them know your concerns. Ask them what you can do, what they can do and so on to make sure all kids are protected. Put the signs on the very edge of your driveway, that is your private poperty.

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answers from Baton Rouge on

If your kids are riding in the street, they need to be following the rules of the road, not expecting drivers to change the rules to accomodate them.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I see tons of these in my neighborhood and they make me smile. I'm happy that parents take the time to think about safety for their children and give drivers a little extra warning. Some put them by the curb, some put them in the middle of the street. Neither positon bother me. I think your new neighbor needs to get over herself. Do as the other mom's stated and call the non-emergency line and have them direct an officer or state patrol person to you so you can discuss the situtation.

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answers from Appleton on

Contact the police department and ask them to patrol your neighborhood more often. Tell them children are outside playing and riding bikes and you have several careless drivers in your area. Explain about the dog that was hit and killed also.
I would stand there right next to my little green man and take pictures or videos of the careless drivers; hopefully getting their license plate numbers. And turn that into the police.

If that doesn't work contact your local TV news station and ask for the community affairs director, explain the problem and ask them to do a story on it.

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answers from Detroit on

I would call the police yourself, just to find out if this is really an issue or not. And if it isn't, I would just ignore her. Let her call the police if she wants, you already know you are right and she is wrong. Then the police can tell her that instead of you.

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answers from Tampa on

I think the police would welcome that sign to ensure children do not get hit... I"d call the police and ask them about it - then next time that lady comes over to you to complain, say go ahead and call the police... they won't be siding with you.

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answers from Tulsa on

I don't think she doesn't like your kids riding their bikes, I think she doesn't like this sign being out in the road. She probably was driving and got startled by it.

Are you outside watching your kids while they ride their bikes and play basketball? I think that is a much better way to protect your kids instead of relying on a sign.

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answers from San Francisco on

Katie B is right, you could be cited....Call the police and let them know your concerns. Make sure you tell them about the dog that was killed and if you know who did it, let them know that information as well.

If you see or have seen anyone speeding or driving dangerously, take the license number and any pertinent information. Ask the police to drive by when they are in the area.


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answers from Dothan on many thoughts going through my head, a few aren't very nice, BUT I haven't seen your 'sign' about asking your neighborhood PD about the legalities? If they say the sign is OK then your ahead of her on the, 'I'm gonna tell on you' routine ;)...if she doesn't like all the kidz, too frickin' bad, she should have paid more attention prior to purchasing her new home...are your kidz obeying all the bike laws? if so, chalk up another point for you!

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answers from Chicago on

I know lots of people who use those green men, and some neighborhoods have actually purchased them for the residents.

She's probably complaining about it being a little bit on the street, so I agree, talk to a police officer and find out what your rights are.

If a dog was recently killed you should talk to your police department about posting a car by the park for a few days to track speeders. In Illinois we have those machines that detect your speed limit and blink it back at you in big numbers to get you more aware. They put them by schools a few weeks before school starts to get people aware that the speed limit is slower.

I understand your concerns--perhaps you could also get fellow neighbors to post the green men as well? Once you know your rights, of course. I think they are a great idea!

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answers from Nashville on

If it's on your property then there's not a damn thing she can do about it. Sounds like this woman needs to move into my house and then she'll see what bad neighbors are like. She'll go nuts if she had some of my neighbors.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I can relAte to your post. Many times drivers drive faster than they should, in fact the city finally put in a speedbump on our street, but it took 3 years. I have seen those caution signs on streets and I get why people put them out. As far as your neighbor, why doesn't she get a life. I wonder how people have the time and energy to complain about something so minuscule.

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answers from Redding on

Without a UNITED neighborhood watch program you will always have the ONE neighbor that has to be tha a-hole. It's murphys law. Call the highway patrol office in your area and ask them if what you are doing is illegal or not, THEN you will know.

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answers from Provo on

Perhaps I am a little fiesty, but I would let her know in no uncertain terms that you intend to protect your children, and that if she or her children do anything to harm them, including but not limited to removing your sign and/or hitting them while on their bikes, you will be suing her for everything she has. The other suggestions that the other moms have made are very good, and you might want to go with them first in the interest of neighborhood relationships, but she needs to know that she is not going to bully you into not protecting your children.

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answers from Dallas on

Ignore her. If it will make you feel better - call the police department and ask if there is any reason you cannot have this sign displayed while your kids are riding bikes. We do the same thing but we use orange cones and we do put them on the edge of the street - but we live on a private road and can what we want. No one has ever complained. Otherwise, don't give her the time of day.



answers from Boca Raton on

The other moms had great suggestions but here is another thought - could you lobby with your town/city to put in speed bumps or other "traffic calming" methods in that little stretch near the park?

Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

I would ignore her. Most people don't pay enough attention when they are driving. Kids act on impulse. Keep the little green man out there. You may have to keep it in your driveway but I would still use it.



answers from New York on

call the police (the non-emergency number) have them come to you and discuss with them the situation.
we had one, what i used to call a nascar driver, our street ends in a sul de sac and this guy used to drive like a crazy person. one time he almost hit me. we were new in the neighborhood. so we discussed it with other neighbors who told us he has always done that but no one was willing to discuss it with him. my husband went to his door and talked to him about his driving. needless to say he came to apologize to me and since then he has been a slow driver in our street. no harms done.
this lady who confronted you did not like the sign. don't get into it with her, just call the police to warn them about your sign. that way you are off the hook if she files a complaint.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I was sitting in the middle of the street watching my grand kids ride their bikes, it's a dead end street with VERY little traffic. The kids know that I holler "car" too. They get to the curb and stand still. My little heathen J was just standing in the middle of the street one time though and I didn't see him due to the pic up truck creeping slowly by, very slowly. The driver was carefully watching the kids on the curb to make sure they didn't run out again. They were being extremely careful I realized J was not on the curb and saw him. The truck was just about on top of him. I started yelling to the kids to grab him, they were just a few feet from him and the driver would see him when they tried to grab him. I had to hit the truck to get the drivers attention away from the kids on the curb and j was right at the grill at that point and still standing there.

I still sit in the middle of the street but make SURE all the kids get to the curb. I would call the police and ask if it is legal to put the sign in the street. It may be considered a driving hazard. This woman could make it difficult for you if it is against local laws. You can also ask they put some kinds of precautions up too. Such as those signs that show you your speed and if it's over they start blinking faster and faster. They can also sit on your street and make show of their presence. That might let the neighbors know it's not okay to drive fast.

But the truth of it all is that streets were made for cars, not kids and bikes or anything else. If she says it's a road hazard it may well be and the kids just need to go to the local park to ride and play.



answers from San Francisco on

I hated that sign when my neighbor put it out, the difference though is that she did stick it completely in the road and our road is just a little over one lane wide. So I didn't actually hate her sign (he is rather cute), but her positioning. I do not think that is your neighbors problem though and I think your neighbor just needs to get over herself. You are trying to prevent an accident, not cause one and if she finds a little green sign a distraction then she needs to not be driving anyways. I will say that it didn't help with our neighbors and now 8 years later the ex state policemans wife still flys down our little road.
Good luck and I wouldn't change a thing I was doing if I was you.



answers from Chicago on

Whatever happened with this situation?

I wonder how you got to the conclusion that your neighbor didn't like your kids riding bikes. Your post goes from talking about your sign to a random comment, "obviously some people don't like my kids riding bikes." A lot of information is missing....

I have a lot of kids on my street, and they ride their bikes all over the road, sidewalks, up driveways, into intersections, through yards, ALL OVER. When I back my car out of my garage onto my downhill driveway, I am always freaked out about which neighbor kid is going to be under my car tire in 2 seconds. It is unfair to me and other motorists that the neighborhood kids do not practice traffic safety.

Someone mentioned that the roads are for cars only, and I totally disagree. Cars and bikes share the road. Therefore, both motorists and cyclists need to observe traffic safety rules. Perhaps you can distribute this information to your neighbors next spring to head off any summer mayhem.

You received other good ideas (i.e. contacting law enforcement, requesting speed bumps, etc.). I recommend that you disregard the ones to tell your neighbor to shove it, though. Good luck!


answers from Dallas on

I feel for you. When we built our first house in a new neighborhood, our street became a cut through street and you could not let children out front. We were in an upscale area on a golf course so it does not matter about your location and types of people in the neighborhood.

We did contact the police to get help with the speeding cars. In the end, speed humps were put in.

After being there about10 yrs, we built the house where we are now and it is SO different. We have little traffic and it is just people who live back where we do or are snooping or lost.

We do have a couple of stop signs in the nieghborhood that are routinely ignored. We just call the non emergency line for police and let them know and they get some decent revenue for the city.

I know in my first house, the police would dit in my driveway to use the radar and ticket people for going to fast.

Good luck. Some people just believe the road belongs to them and it is hard for children to learn to ride a bike and play safely.

Next question: Speeding Through the Neighborhood with Kids at Play!